DJ Void has been scratching records for 13 years, and Fogatron has been beatboxing for equally as long. Two of Portland's true stalwarts in the hiphop scene, the pair still receive little credit or recognition for their respective efforts. Perhaps by joining forces this weekend, things will change.
As a DJ, Void (Tim Zagelow) has tested his limits working alongside emcees, doing weeklies, even teaming with DJ Wicked for a group called the Audio Orphanz. In 2004 he released a disc of tracks built—quite literally—from scratch, The DJ Void EP. Eager to see the advancement of scratch music, Void has his fader finger on what could be its next evolution: dubstep. A bass-heavy, double-time tempo, dubstep features warbling synths that sometimes sound as if they're cut on a choppy transform scratch.
"Dubstep music sounds like the scratch beats I used to cut to, but updated for 2009," says Zagelow. "It seems like the natural progression of where scratch music is going." Void's new sets mix dubstep tracks and cutting with remarkable speed and technical grace.
Fogatron (full disclosure: I performed with Fogatron from 2004-2005) agrees with Void's assessment: "My whole introduction to hiphop was through scratch DJing," explains Fogatron, AKA Adam Test. "Listening to those beats, and now dubstep, no one can argue that dubstep comes from scratch music." Beginning his career in music as a DJ himself, Fogatron wanted to cut like the masters but his skills, according to him, "never really progressed." Luckily, he had a backup talent: a bang-up beatboxing ability that has landed him onstage performing alongside the likes of KRS-One and Digital Underground. His own vocal style draws from similar traditions, heavy in bass and bouncing in tempo.
Few could argue that DJ Void and Fogatron have been, and continue to be, key members of the Portland hiphop community. Whether silently planning and practicing in their houses, or taking to the stage to flex the next evolution of the scene, the duo remains irreplaceable. Now, blending hiphop with a newly emerging genre of music, they hope to shine some light on heads once more.